The Friendship-Crescent-Mesa Neighborhood is one of those beautiful little neighborhoods in Colorado Springs where folks with homes on large lots enjoy spectacular views and abundant wildlife.
Many of the homes back up to a valley where the Palmer Land Trust owns a 20-acre open space.
It struct twice in six years. First in 1992, when 25 acres burned and threatened homes.
Then, on April 4, 1998, it struck again. And this time, the effects were not as benign.
The 15-acre inferno produced flames 60 feet high and, this time, houses were not spared. The home of Paul Konecny was destroyed and four others damaged. Here is a Gazette file photo of the Konecny home.
In hopes of averting another tragedy, neighbors have taken steps to mitigate future wildfire. Many have removed bushes and trees from against their homes to create “defensible space” for firefighters.
They’ve laid down perimeters of rock to impede the spread of fire as it moves up the valley. Some have installed sprinkler systems to fight fire.
But the hillsides behind the houses are steep. And it’s expensive to hire crews to whack the weeds and brush and haul it off.
This fall, neighbor Richard Serby had an idea. He read about the goats being used to munch weeds in Bear Creek Regional Park and thought they’d be ideal for his neighborhood.
So he contacted Lani Malmberg, owner of Goats Eat Weeds , also known as Ewe4ic Ecological Services of Cheyenne, Wyo., whose Cashmere goats are used to mow Bear Creek.
Last week, Malmberg brought 400 goats, and Patches, her border collie, to the neighborhood and the munching began.
The goats are all male. They are colorful, have twisting horns. And they are not particularly friendly. But they aren’t loud, either.
They graze the hillsides, eating noxious weeds that would kill other animals. Their hooves soften the soil and work in the manure they produce as they eat.
Portable fence is used to contain the goats on one property at a time.
The goats will take down small trees, if left on one property long enough.
They will stand on their hind legs and eat branches as high as nine feet.
Here’s a link to a story I wrote in 2002 about the 1998 wildfire that roared through the Friendship-Crescent-Mesa neighborhood destroying one house and damaged several others.